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Apple software hints at Sept. 10 announcement for the next iPhone

Key Points
  • An image in Apple's iOS 13 beta release to developers could offer a clue to its fall event date where it is expected to announce its newest iPhones.
  • The image suggests Apple's event could fall on Sept. 10, according to 9to5Mac.
  • More substantial updates to the iPhone, including 5G capabilities, are expected in 2020.
A girl reacts as she tries an iPhone X at the Apple Omotesando store on November 3, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan.
Getty Images

The date for Apple's newest iPhone announcement may be hidden in its latest beta release of its new operating system.

Apple released its newest iOS 13 beta to developers on Thursday with what some believe is a clue to its iPhone announcement date. The operating system contained an asset called "HoldForRelease" that showed a home screen of an iPhone with the calendar date set to Sept. 10, 9to5Mac reported. Apple has held its fall press event around this time in September for the past four years, the site previously noted.

Analysts don't expect the so-called iPhone 11 to be a huge change from previous models. Barclays semiconductor analysts wrote in May that they anticipate Apple's 2019 iPhones will offer "relatively few design changes" while a more substantial update, including features like 5G capability, will come in 2020.

J.P. Morgan Chase analysts agreed in a July note that major updates would come in 2020.

"Our expectations include all three Sep-2020 iPhones (5.4″/6.1″/6.7″ screen sizes) will adopt OLED displays and 5G baseband modems (with support for mmWave frequencies), and at least two of the three models adopting world facing 3D Sensing (Time of Flight) driving industry leading AR/VR capabilities which can be leveraged by custom built applications (including games)," analyst Samik Chatterjee wrote.

Apple's iPhone business has struggled with trends such as weakness in the Chinese economy and the fact that customers keep their devices longer than they used to before upgrading. For Apple's fiscal third quarter, iPhone revenues made up 48% of total revenue. It was the first time the segment made up less than half of all revenues since 2012.

Still, Apple has found new areas of growth such as wearables, like the Apple Watch and HomePods, and digital services, like App Store sales, Apple Music subscriptions and iCloud storage.

The Trump administration also alleviated any worries that the iPhone would be subject to new Chinese tariffs that were originally set to go into effect on Sept. 1. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said this week that the tariffs would be pushed back to December, sending Apple shares up 4% on Tuesday.

An Apple spokesperson was not immediately available to comment.

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